Tutorial 2: Building Your Mission
After reading Tutorial 1: Planning your Research, you've learned the basics of missions, parts, and entries. This tutorial will help you learn how to build your mission within the dscout. If this is your first time building a mission, be sure to review the basics of dscout and take a look at the researcher glossary to make sense of any unfamiliar terms.
How to Build a Mission
- Create A Project
- Create a Mission
- Define Mission Specs
- Build Parts
- Test Your Mission
- Add Scouts and Launch
In addition to reading the step by step instructions below, consider watching this brief webinar about building missions in dscout.
1. Create a Project
Sign in at dscoutapp.com. The first time you log into the dscout researcher dashboard, you'll be prompted to name your research project. If this isn’t the first time you’ve created a project in dscout, you’ll be able to create a new one by clicking on the drop down arrow in the upper left hand corner of the screen. Click the “Add New Project” button to name your project and get started.
To add colleagues to your project, navigate to your project dashboard and select "Add Collaborators to Project" or use the " Permissions" tab.
Once you have a project to work with, you can start building your mission, or (if you have a dscout subscription) a screener. You can return to the dashboard whenever you wish by clicking the title of your project, to the right of the "Projects" dropdown menu.
2. Create a Mission
If you're already a dscout pro, you can create a new mission from scratch or copy one that you created previously. But, if you need a helping hand structuring your mission, just choose from one of five customizable mission templates that capture data related to common dscout research objectives. Be sure to edit your overview, instructions, and mission questions to make it your own.
3.Define Mission Specs
This is where you'll name your mission, write a mission overview, and estimate how many days your mission will take to complete (think about how many parts you will have and how long each part will take). Sometimes missions only stay open for 2-3 days, but they can last two weeks or more, depending on your needs and on how many parts you have.
Here you also make the decision to release your mission parts automatically or manually. If you choose automatic, subsequent parts are opened for the scout as soon as they create the minimum required entries for the previous part. If you choose manual, you control when parts are published and opened to scouts via the manage page. Either way, Part 1 will always be ready for scouts to begin when you launch and scouts accept your mission invitation.
PRO TIP: If you want to write interview-style questions that scouts will answer just once, you may do so by asking scouts to create only 1 entry. But if you frame your questions in such a way that it makes sense for them to be answered repeatedly in different circumstances, diary-style, you may do so by requiring scouts to create multiple entries.
4. Building a Part
Here's where you'll write the questions scouts will answer. Here are a few key things to remember:
- A mission can have up to 10 parts, and you can ask 20 questions per part, one of which can be a media prompt.
- Write specs for each part. This is where you’ll write instructions for each part and set a couple of different parameters, including how long that part will take, how many questions it will have, and how many entries you're expecting scouts to create in each part.
- If scouts are submitting multiple entries in one part, make sure it makes sense for the questions in that part to be answered multiple times. For example, if your scouts are creating a new entry for each snack in their cupboard you can't ask "what is your favorite snack" because this can't be answered again and again. Instead, you should ask "what is it that you like about THIS snack?" More on this here.
- Review the kinds of questions you can ask scouts, and use a good mixture of question types.
- You can use skip logic to jump scouts to different questions within that particular part based on their answers to a specific closed ended question.
PRO TIP: If you haven't already, take a look at these examples of good mission design.
5. Test Your Mission
After building a dscout mission, you have the option to click on "Test Mission" in the lower right hand corner of your status bar in the Setup page prior to launching. You'll then be able to invite up to 5 testers.
Once these folks are invited, they'll get an email from dscout with directions for downloading the dscout mobile app from the App Store or Google Play. They'll have 5 days to see exactly what your scouts will see and can even create entries.
If you're happy with the mission design after trying it out, you can end the testing period manually in the Setup page by clicking on the "End Test" button in the lower right hand corner. Ending your test mission will delete all of the test data so that you can keep your mission data separate and clean.
6. Add Scouts and Launch
After you've confirmed that you’ve finished your testing and are ready to launch your mission, you can add your scouts from the "Invite" tab. There, you'll be able to craft your custom invitation message and add your scouts. You'll see a "Launch" button in the same lower right hand corner which will send out your scout invitations.
To maintain outstanding research integrity, once a mission is launched, researchers cannot edit parts that have already been published and opened to scouts. However, researchers will be able to edit, add, and delete parts that have not yet been opened to scouts (in a manual mission).
And for a comprehensive overview that shows what scouts see when they're invited to your mission, take a look at what scouts see on dscout's mobile app. For tips on how to manage your participants once your mission(s) launch, click on Tutorial 4 below.